Explanation of “URS”

 

“URS”

Urs, is done annually for a saint by his disciples (Mureeds). They hold this Urs in the mosque near the grave of the saint. They recite the Qur’an and various scholars give lectures on different topics of Islam. The audience are allowed to question the scholars on anything they wish. At the end a du’a is said and then hospitality is done for the people. The hospitality is solely done for the blessings.

Some people consider this an innovation (bidah) and regard it to be forbidden (haram). They object to this and ask questions such as “Why once a year?” The other objection they have towards this is that the Prophet Muhammad [May Allah bless him and grant him peace] curses those who build mosques on the grave. Therefore, the objection they hold is that if a mosque is not allowed to be built on the graves, how can we hold a gathering such as urs there. The answer to the first question regarding “Why once a year?” is:

Imam Tabari, Hafidhh-Ibn-Kathir and Qurtabi write:

The Prophet Muhammad [May Allah bless him and grant him peace] used to go to the graves of the martyrs of Uhd once a year and also recite the verse of the Holy Qur’an on excellence of patience. The Prophet Muhammad [May Allah bless him and grant him peace] used to pray for them. When the beloved Prophet Muhammad [May Allah bless him and grant him peace] passed away himself, the Khalifs, Abu-Bakr [May Allah bless him and grant him peace], Umar [May Allah bless him and grant him peace], Usman [May Allah bless him and grant him peace] and Ali [May Allah bless him and grant him peace] used to do the same thing.

[Tafsir Tabari, Tafsir Ibn-Kathir and Tafsir Qurtabi by Imam Tabari, Hafidhh Ibn-Kathir. Imam Qurtabi commentary of Surah Ra’d Verse 20.]

From all this we can conclude or understand that going to the grave of a saint once a year is permissible and is not an innovation (bidah). Also to lecture in a gathering is just another way of doing Dawah (work propagating Islam).

As for the answer to the second question. To build a mosque on the grave. The meaning of the Hadith is not to prostrate to the grave. There is proof in the Qur’an of building a mosque for saints near the grave.

Allah says in the Qur’an

They said, build over their cave any building. Their lord knows well about them. Those who prevailed in their affair said, we swear that we shall erect over them a mosque.

(Surah Al-Kahaf-V 21)

Imam Tabari, Hafidhh-Ibn-Kathir and Imam Qurtabi writes:

When the people of the cave went into the cave, some people said, who were close to the entrance of the cave, build a mosque so we can worship Allah (THE ALMIGHTY) The people who said this were Muslims.

[Tafsir Tabari, Tafsir Ibn-Kathir Surah Kahf Verse 21]

Therefore, from this we can prove that building a mosque near the grave of a pious person is permissible.

Hafidhh Asqalani writes:

If a person built a mosque near the graves of pious people, and that person’s intention is solely for the blessings of Allah (Almighty.), and at the time of prayer, not to prostrate or face the grave, it is permissable to build a mosque near the grave of a saint and is not forbidden.

[Fath-ul-Bari, Chapter of Masajid]

From the above we can understand the true meaning of the Hadith which points out not to prostrate to the graves. It does not mean not to build a mosque near the graves. It basically means not to face the graves whilst praying.

Imam Tabari and Hafidhh-Ibn-Kathir write, in the 88th year of Hijra, the room of Aisha [May Allah bless Her and Grant Her peace] where there are graves of the Prophet Muhammad [May Allah bless him and grant him peace] Abu-Bakr [May Allah bless him and grant him peace] and Umar [May Allah bless him and grant him peace] were joined to the mosque of the Prophet Muhammad [May Allah bless him and grant him peace]. (Tareeh Tabari and Tareeh Hafidhh Ibn-Kathir, Chapter of Government (Valid-Ibn-Abdul-Malik by Imam Tabari and Hafidhh Ibn-Kathir)

At the time of this, some companions and students (Tabeen) were alive and since then, no one has objected to this, which means it is allowed to have a mosque near the grave.

Some people assert that it is not allowed to visit the grave with that the intention that someone wants to see the grave. We ahle sunnah say that it is right to go and visit the grave with the intention that you are going to see the grave. The evidence is as follows.

Qadi Shawkani writes that:

After the Prophet’s (May Allah bless him and grant him peace) death, Bilal settled in Syria. He had a dream where he saw the Prophet (May Allah bless him and grant him peace) and the Prophet said what kind of friend are you that you do not come and visit my grave? The next morning, Bilal made a journey to Madina to see the Prophet’s (May Allah bless him and grant him peace) grave. At that time the companions were alive and they did not object to this. This narration is authentic

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